NEEDHAM, Mass. – Outsourcing and offshoring may be getting all the headlines, but America's financial institutions are still spending big on their own call centers, according to a new report U.S. banks will spend about $1.9 billion on contact center technology in 2004, and about $5.2 billion on the people who staff them, according to the report from the TowerGroup research and advisory firm. And some contact centers outperform others despite using "mediocre" technologies, says George Turbin, a senior analyst with TowerGroup. "Financial institutions have realized that while they can invest any amount of capital in improving call center agent applications to serve up timely information laced with rich customer knowledge, this knowledge must be used appropriately for it to be effective," Turbin says. "Given this, a technology that's designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of contact center staff should be taken into serious consideration," the think firm analyst says. "After all, a 10% reduction in personnel expenses provides the equivalent savings of a 30% reduction in IT expenses," he says.

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